“Here ya go lad!”
Otister bit his lip as the annoying and loudmouthed fool slammed down his ale in front of him on the table, spilling ale over the table and some on his pants. He was in the mood to start a fight with this idiot, but he wasn’t here to fight, he was here to gather information. He did not yet understand the full concept of this organization that hired him, The Shining Strand, but he took the job because it would take their aim was to liberate the North, and he needed to return to Silverpine to find out about his past.
“So where was I? Aye Southshore yeah. This region still is ours, but I fear it won’t be for long. Ye maybe think old Marley is a fool but he’s not as much an idiot as ye think!”
As he laughed and his rotten teeth showed Otister felt himself get physically ill.
You are a fool and an idiot, but those aren’t your biggest problems. It’s your smell that’s far worse….
Otister glanced outside trough the open door of the…… It was raining.
A fat person who had sat in a corner drinking ale after ale without talking finally spoke up. “Shut up ye old bastard ye don’t know anything. There is a truce ye know. No more fighting between us.”
“With the Forsaken. Ye still think they are ye family don’ ye. Ye think that they are all right don’ ye. I’ll tell ye smug, they’re not allright, they are up to something I say. Theyre not like em used to be smug, their not yer family no more.” Marley had a wicked grin as he spoke to the fat man he called “smug”.
“Shut yer yap, you idiot”, the fat man responded. “You don’t know anything.” The fat man took another sip from his mug.
Drunkards, tavern idiots, all such simple targets for a spy like Otister. You didn’t need to ask them anything, all you had to do was sit with them, be silent and listen and they would tell you everything they knew, although most of the time, it wasn’t much. The hard part was definitely the smell….
“What about farmer Osley then? He got attacked by em last week! Ye ignore that?”
“Farmer Osley is just a loudmouthed liar like you are. He’s been telling lies since before he was born and you know it. They don’t have any reason to attack the farmers, and like I said there is a truth, now they may be walking corpses but they fight against the Scourge just like our soldiers did.”
“Scourge, Forsaken, blah. All ‘e same to me.”
“Cause yer an idiot!”
The innkeeper called Anderson raised his voice:
“He’s right about the attacks on farmers ye know, my brother Ramon was attacked as well, without reason. He barely escaped and he’s too scared to go back to his farm even. The Southshore Guards do get reports of increasing aggression. Truce or no truce, you cannot deny that there’s something amiss.”
Otister felt himself twitch inside, but remained calm. His job was to appear as uninterested as possible while he sucked up the information.
Why do they care about farmers, from the stories, these forsaken should be more intelligent than that….
The “idiot” continued, and louder this time….
“And what about the Orcs, the Trolls and Tauren we see, whatabout them? Why are you defending them anyway? This is our land they took? You lazy traitor bastard, why ye accept them? Don’t ye see that theres more o’them horde coming to Tarren Mill every day?”
Otister saw foam coming out of Marley’s mouth. But his thoughts where elsewhere..
Tarren Mill, something was happening there. But what?
“Ach”, the fat man responded, “longears that was here last week gave yer a good explanation remember?”
What explanation? He had to know…
Slowly Otister turned his head, hoping that “the idiot” would provide answers. He suppressed a smile as the idiot ranted on…
“Because of water? Are ye insane smug? Ye don’t really believe em treehuggers do ye. If yer ask me them treehuggers are a part of the horde themselves. Ain’t no way them all traveling half the world fer a bit of water. It’s not like they don’t have water in Kalimdor.”
“Look yer idiot”, the fat man called “smug” responded, “the elf said it was “special” water they seek. I don’t know either, but I know who the real enemy is, and it’s not them. They are sad and lost. I can see it when I watch them.”
“Yer watch them? Yer probably one of em yerself. A traitor.”
Otister saw the fat man’s face turn to red. “Now yer going to far, I’ve fought in the war and you’ve never been in any war. Yer just an old fool yapping and yapping and disturbing the customers with yer bad breadth.
The fat man turned to Otister. “Don’t listen to him, he’s a fool.”
“Yer better listen to me because I may be a fool and I may be an idiot, but I’m not blind. They are preparing for war. Soutshore is not Stormwind, It’s doesn’t have walls, and when their coming it will be a bloodbath here and yer wish ye had listened to ol’ Marley.”
Otister spoke up: Another beer please, and a room.
Marley stood up, and grabbed his coat. As he walked towards the door, turned around and looked Otister straight in the eye.
“I tell ye a bloodbath this place will be, yer mark my words”.
As he left Otister eyed him, and started thinking…
It doesn’t make sense. Attacks on farmers, increased Horde activity. Surely the Horde should be happy with the territory they won here in the north, why would they risk it? What was wrong with Hillsbrad?
Tarren Mill, the next morning…
Why am I doing this?
A thick layer of fog was covering the Foothills, making the Hillsbrad area seem unreal. It was very cold this morning, but the adrenaline that was rushing trough Otisters veins was keeping him warm. The silence was threatening, and only occasionally it was disturbed by a roar from one of the mountain lions that ventured in these hills. Tarren Mill was close, very close. From the hill where they stood, you would have been able to see the small village where it not for the fog and mist covering the view.
Otister closed his eyes, and a flash of memory came back. He saw himself on a horse, his page at his side, and an army behind him.
Was I truly a Lord? Did I command armies? Who was I?
He saw his army impatient waiting for his signal, there was a thick layer of fog then, just as there was now. But despite their impatience and their lust for battle, they would not move until he gave the signal. Slowly he raised his sword…
“Sir? Are you all right Sir? Can I go?”
Otister cursed inside as his flash of memory was interrupted by the fat man, whose name appeared to be Bawlin Thardrum.
Who was I?
He looked down at the fat man, saw his fear inside as he kneeling on the ground, his stomach beaten and a black eye. This poor soul was innocent.
Why am I doing this?
Tell me more, Otister said. What did the Druid tell you about Kalimdor?
Look good Sir, I already told ye everything I’d tell ya but the Druid made me promise I would keep my mouth shut. The Druid was kind to me, a good fellah he was. That be no way to treat a kind visitor to our lands surely ye must agree…
Otister brought his finger to the fat man’s lip, instantly silencing him. He unsheathed his dagger, and showed the glimmering steel to the peasant. It was time to show this drunken fool that he was in fact serious.
“Try again mister Thardrum, this time, tell me everything.”
The fat man began to cry.
Great, always a signal that information is finally coming.
“He tol’ me, well that he was ‘ere to spy on them Forsaken, to see what they where up too, and why?” With tears rolling out of his eyes, the fat man kept talking…
Why am I doing this?
“He say that the Horde and the Alliance have a peace, and that all violence or acts of aggression from either side should be dealt with. He…he… well…he said that Sir.
“Continue.” The cold nature of his voice told the fat man that Otister was not satisfied with the answer.
Why am I doing this?
For justice, for peace. Sometimes for the greater good and for justice and safety to all, good men had to do evil things or lose everything.”
The fat man continued, his face becoming redder as he spoke. Otister was surprised to see so much will power and resistance in such a simple person. But the walls of his resistance where no match for the skilled spy that he was.
“He, he spoke that in them Elven Forest in Kalimdor Forsaken where turning up doing bad things, and he wanted to find out what, he said he didn’t believe in war, but that the Forsaken where up to something in…in…Ashenvale.”
“Ashenvale”, perhaps the rumors spread by the drunkards in Stormwind were true and demons where not the only thing the Night Elves where dealing with in their ancient lands.
Who was I in Silverpine, was I like this? Why am I doing this?
“Well, he say that there be still hope for a true peace, but that the forsaken where the key to achieving this.”
The Light forgive me.
“He say that he be going to Arathi to inspect as well, and that he would return to Ashenvale shortly after. He made me promise not to tell, and I don’t wanna be telling this ye know, I believe him, I believe him when he said there was still hope for peace. This news will surely mean more aggression won’t it? So I kept my mouth shut about the details Sir. That’s why..”
Ashenvale. The Night Elves. Their organization needed them. The druids where needed to heal this cursed and wicked land like only they could. Their enemies where numerous. Scourge, Forsaken, and as all evidence pointed out so far they would get the help of the other races of the Horde. Trolls where already moving to Stranglethorn. Orcs, Trolls and Tauren where traveling these lands and no doubt would side with the Forsaken once their organization would put forward their claims to regain and rebuild the North for a reborn and a just Alliance civilization in the North. Their organization could not succeed on its own though, they needed a unity of all races of the Alliance to succeed, if indeed the Forsaken where causing trouble in Ashenvale, that would be an important advantage to recruiting Night-Elves, even their normally pacifist druids. Destroying the Forsaken strongholds would surely attract a lot of night-elves into their ranks. Once the Scourge and the Forsaken where defeated, the rebuilding of the North could start.
“Well he’ saying that their Shaman need the water and that’s why many of them would come to the defenses of the Forsaken if they were attacked. I not know meself Sir. I believe the good Druid, he seemed kind an’ honest to me. I just be a honest leatherworker in Southshore Sir, but like ye I’ve been in the army. I don’ want no new war, I’ve seen enough…”
The Light be merciful, forgive me for doing what is necessary for the Light and Justice to prevail…
Surely the Light would not condemn him, he who was at the forefront of the battle to bring the Light back to these rotten lands.
“I did nae want to tell Sir, but I told you everything. To Arathi he went, telling things would be happenin’ there as well, things that had to be stopped before conflict escalated. He really did nae tell me what Sir. He said he would be off to the Highlands to investigate and return to Kalimdor soon.”
Going to Arathi would be futile as he would likely be too late. He would have to venture to Ashenvale himself to find the Druid and discover more about this. But the news was positive for their organization. If the Forsaken were in fact moving in Ashenvale, finding night-elves to join their cause would be easy. Already there where some joining up with their cause, if what this fat man was saying was true, there would be many more.
The Light have mercy on my soul…
The fat man stared at him. “I been telling ye all I know really Sir, ye ‘ave to believe me now. And it ain’t makin me happy. I be a man of me word and now its broken.”
Otister stared him in the eye, piercing and searching. This man had told him everything he knew. And he would do so again. No doubt. Especially after what he had done to him. The noble cause of his organization was too important. Too many minds inside the Alliance would oppose him now. The time for his organization to step forward and announce themselves and their cause for all eyes and ears was not now. Not yet.
Why am I doing this?
Otister flung his dagger deep into the heart of the fat man. The man grabbed his legs…looking for support…his eyes widening…he stuttered his last word…
Yes. Why? Why am I doing this? Was I like this before? Who was I?
Otister slowly twisted his dagger inside, he felt the blood gushing out of the fat man’s body and his stuttering ended.
For Hope. For the Light. For Justice. For peace. For the Glory of the North.
The body collapsed at the ground and the “thump” as he crashed down echoed throughout the Hillsbrad Foothills.
Why was it so quit here? Did the Forsaken sleep at night? Or was it the calm before the storm?
Otister took off his bloodied gloves. He would burn them later. No need to hide the body. Even if one of the farmers would dare to venture so close to Tarren Mill, and would find the corpse, there would be no investigation. No questions would be asked. No autopsy performed. They would bury the man and they would research nothing, they would without question and without doubt assume it was the Forsaken who had committed this act of brutality.
Otister closed his eyes. He felt sadness and guilt. He needed to repent his sin. He needed to be surrounded by Light and Hope again, this journey had caused harm to his conscience, even if it was done for the greater good. He would travel to Ashenvale, to find out more, but not yet. There where so many things to do. He needed to report to his superior in Stormwind, the Kingdom of Stormwind itself was in need. A rebellion was rising in the West. So many things to do, so little time.
Otister started his march back to Southshore.
Silverpine, who was I, what was I? Why did I leave? Why have I done this?
He longed for the day where he could return to Silverpine Forest and find the answers to his questions. So many questions needed an answer, but there was little time was left.
What is it about Tarren Mill?
Otister remembered the words of the other drunkard in the Southshore Inn.
“Soutshore is not Stormwind, It’s doesn’t have walls, and when their coming it will be a bloodbath here and yer wish ye had listened to ol’ Marley.”
The Light forgive me…”
A church he needed and fast. A place to repent his horrible sin.
Northshire. There was a nice and reasonably secluded abbey in Northshire, that should do it.